Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Person(s) of the Year

It is a toss up between a Global hero, Julian Assange of Wikileaks and an Indian hero, Manu Joseph of the Open magazine in India. (And some enlightened people at Outlook Magazine)

Assange helped challenge the state's legitimacy to its supremacy and its 'asserted' right to hold secrets.

Manu Joseph and the other people helped expose the disease of the media-politician-state-business relationship in India, by publishing transcripts of the Radia tapes, bringing out the rot for all citizens to see and judge.

The Person of the year is not who people in the mainstream media think is. The MSM's primary instinct is to remain close to sources of 'Power'.

Time magazine, which has long lost its relevancy, and which is not especially known for its incisive coverage of technology, has chosen the safe route.

In naming the 26-year old Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook as the person of year, Time is telling you to accept dumbly that a walled garden like Facebook is the known center of the universe. Actually, the magazine wants to please the 'aloofy' Zuckerberg in exchange for future gifts in form of 'scoops' and 'exclusives.'

Just how useful and revolutionary Facebook is? What is it but 500 million+ glorified Profile pages with comments, with all real controls and privileges owned by the site, not the user.

Think about it: There were people online before Facebook and there will be people online after Facebook, sending pokes and comments down each other’s virtual space. But, there are few who take on the mighty. And there are fewer who win.

The world is looking for the next Assange or Joseph: Who will help break the Facebook walled garden down. That person will be my person of the year, whenever that happens. Meanwhile, I am hoping we do something about the draconian Official Secrets Act in India.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Patriot App: A Case of Crowdsourcing/Social Sharing Gone too Far?

The 'George Bushy' Patriot App. has been developed by a company staffed with former Homeland Security staffers. It is meant to get 'concerned citizens' to be the state's 'eyes and ears'.

This app was founded on the belief that citizens can provide the most sophisticated and broad network of eyes and ears necessary to prevent terrorism, crime, environmental negligence, or other malicious behavior.

Using the Patriot App. , users can 'download, report (including pictures) and submit information to relevant government agencies, employers, or publish incident data to social network tools.'

As Undernews writes, this is Things even Orwell didn't think of. . .
Next up: Your neighbor as the Mini-me version of Big Brother?

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Why Gawker was attacked

From an interview with the Gnosis folks.


How much Facebook do you know?



There is a problem with the content business in India. What problem?

If you believe Comscore data, then Indian content-based websites [Yahoo, Rediff, the Newspapers etc.] registered a flat traffic growth in 2010.

Indian internet usage is growing. More and more Indians access the internet on their mobile phones [or is it just Facebook, Twitter?]. Then, why is the Indian content traffic story so sad?

Sinha, who runs, which I think is the Indian Techcrunch, asks, 'Are these content players just not innovating enough?'

...most of these companies do not offer any fresh perspective or insight (most of the content sites in India are news aggregators).
...the reality of the matter is that very few content sites in India offer compelling content (i.e. beyond bikini pictures).

Good points. Then he asks,
Is there a ceiling to content business in India?

Maybe, we are taking a narrow view here.
There is life, a rather rich life, outside the portals - Sinha misses out on the rise of blogs (blogs on Hindi movies are my favorite source of Hindi movies rather than the Times of India), forums on TV shows, rise of Social Networking where users share what they think of the latest movie or TV show (which earlier used to be the domain of big media).

Finally, you have to look at the language situation: It is not just about English. If you look at the Indian TV business, the reach of English TV news channels is minuscule compared to Hindi TV news and General Entertainment channels. Something is happening in the Newspaper business.

The Indian internet content business is looking for a rise in usage of the vernacular internet. Where is the Hindi Android?

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